Trying to motivate ourselves to exercise especially on a cold winter day or after an exhausting day of work could be quite an effort. That said, if we were to skip out on working out altogether, the lack of exercise will not only deteriorate our physical fitness and health, it can also affect our mental health. According to a popular Latin proverb, “Mens sana in corpore sano” which translates to “A healthy mind in a healthy body”, keeping our body healthy by exercising can be a good way to keep our mind happy.
According to a survey carried out by American Psychological Association in collaboration with the National Women’s Health Resource Center along with ivillage.com, more than 43 percent of adults surveyed suffered adverse health effects from stress. This high percentage is mostly caused by poor decisions people often made when dealing with stress such as comfort eating, (chain) smoking, and overindulging (binging) in alcohol.Dr. Cliff Arnall, a researcher from Cardiff University, also mentioned that the third Monday of the month (Jan. 18, this year) — a day he refers to as “Blue Monday” — is usually our most depressing day of the year. Arnall bases his yearly prediction on a formula he developed which factors in the weather, consumer debt from holiday spending and failed New Year's resolutions and arrives at that conclusion that we'll hit rock bottom on Monday the 18th.
The great news is that if you’re not fond of the gym, there is an alternative, fun and effective way to positively channel the stress we build up from the daily grind. Based on the assessment done by National Center for Biotechnology Information, training in martial arts not only allows us to sharpen our self-defense skills; it can simultaneously help to improve both our physical and mental health.
Skeptical? Below are 5 awesome ways on how martial arts training can benefit our mind, body, and soul.
It helps to reduce stress.
Serotonin is a chemical that is responsible for maintaining mood balance, and that a deficit of serotonin leads to stress, anxiety, and even depression. This is why it’s crucial for us to maintain a good level of serotonin. But how exactly do we do so?
Well, did you know that working out under sunlight is considered to be very effective in helping to increase the serotonin level and keep you uplifted? If you happen to be a fan of martial arts and music, then why not try Capoeira, a popular Brazilian martial arts that is heavily influenced by the rhythm of music? It would be the perfect option for you as soothing tunes have been proven to foster the production & release of serotonin.
It develops a (more) positive body image.
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According to American Psychological Association, one in four Americans turns to food in an attempt to relieve their stress and/or deal with issues. Ironically, this approach often creates, even more, issues ranging from expanding waistlines to hazardous health problems such as hypertension and high cholesterol.
At BookMartialArts.com, we admit that we’re all lovers of good food, but we also believe that the key to maintaining good health is to balance out the intake of calories with a dose of a serious workout. Regular exercise can help you maintain an ideal Body Mass Index (BMI), be a fitter and better version of yourself and in turn, would help you to appreciate your body as well as to cultivate a more positive body image.
If you happen to be looking for a way to burn calories fast, we urge you to take up Muay Thai, a Thai martial arts discipline that enables you to burn up to 1000 calories per hour!
It provides an energy boost & mood enhancement.
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Have you ever felt so burned out from the stress you developed at work that you don’t have the motivation to do anything fun? Do you find yourself constantly feeling tired or struggle to get out of bed in the morning? If you answer a resounding “yes!” to any of these questions, we recommend you to try Tai Chi or Qi Gong! These gentler disciplines of martial arts are said to be able to reduce stress levels because they emphasize the coordination of breathing patterns and movements which often result in reduced tension, increase of energy and enhancement of mood!
It accelerates detoxification & increases blood flow.
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Whilst it’s completely OK to occasionally indulge in alcohol and greasy takeaways, when done a little too often, these habits pile up toxic burden on our poor liver. If you’re up for an effective detox, why not experience one of the healthiest lifestyle there is for a week? The Shaolin Warrior’s Diet which involves a great intake of raw or steamed vegetables, fruits, and rice is considered one of the healthiest diets in the world, topped up with the Kung Fu routine and you’ll feel like you’ve gained a brand new you!
It improves immunity.
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It’s no secret that germs are everywhere. They’re on our computer keyboards, on our phones, and of course on our own bodies. In short, there’s just no escaping them - unless we choose to live in a sterilized bubble that is. Hence, the only sane option for us to beat the negative effects of germs is to increase our immune system so we are able to effectively fight them off. Regular dose of exercise such as a martial arts training, no matter what style you prefer, will help you boost your immune system and stay in good health.